Aalto Library Dissertations

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Doctoral degree

Updated guidelines for the doctoral dissertation at Aalto University are valid starting from 1 Feb. 2016.

To be awarded a doctorate, the students must
1) complete either theoretical studies for doctoral degree (40 ECTS according to the official study plan accepted by Doctoral Committee) or a degree of Licentiate of Science in Technology
2) demonstrate independent and critical thinking in the field of research, and
3) write a doctoral dissertation and defend it in public.

Dissertation

A doctoral dissertation shall contribute to new scientific knowledge. An approved doctoral dissertation may be

  • a single study (a monograph) or
  • a number of scientific publications or manuscripts vetted for publication deemed sufficient by the university and dealing with the same set of problems and a paper summarizing the findings

School of Chemical Engineering has specific instructions for article-based dissertations and monographs.

Examining the dissertation is the responsibility of preliminary examiners. Examining a monograph requires particular precision and carefulness, since the content is examined as something new. Examiners peer-review the dissertation’s unreviewed parts for the permission to publish.

In an article-based dissertation, the articles have already undergone peer-review process. The examination is then usually directed at the summary part and the aggregate of the dissertation, as well as the doctoral student's own contribution. The summary may include references to unpublished results.

It is important to make clear in the dissertation, which parts have undergone peer-review, so that the preliminary examiners may concentrate on a careful examination of the new parts in addition to the aggregate of the dissertation. It is also important to state clearly the author's personal contribution. The separate publications are usually so-called co-authored publications, from which it is not necessarily clear, which is each author's contribution to the publication. A  detailed report of the author's contribution in the separate publications must be included in the summary.

In the case of an article-based dissertation, the summary is formally regarded as the dissertation. The summary must contain an account of the subject studied, the most important research results obtained by the author and a list of the aforementioned separate publications, and if necessary, it must supplement these publications to fulfil the requirements above.

A doctoral dissertation is a public document and shall be available at the library in print and also as an electronic dissertation.

General quality requirements for a dissertation

  • A doctoral dissertation shall contain new knowledge in the field it represents. In the field of art and design, the doctoral dissertation may also contain new methods of artistic creation or products or transactions, which fulfil high artistic demands.
  • The doctoral dissertation must present the new results clearly and in a manner meeting the criteria set for scientific texts.
  • The independent contribution to the research or artistic production shall be sufficient and clearly demonstrable.
  • The research methods used shall fulfil the criteria set for scientific or art-based research.
  • A doctoral dissertation shall conform to the principles of responsible conduct of research and adhere to ethically sustainable principles.

More guidelines are given at documents "Doctoral Dissertation at Aalto University" and "Instructions for the article-based and monograph dissertation at School of Chemical Engineering (CHEM).

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